Look at any thorough marketing job description, and you’ll no doubt find a laundry list of practical experience and technical skills needed to be effective in that role. But what’s not always listed are soft skills that enable you to thrive in a given business environment and culture.
Sure, if you’re an SEO guru or peerless project manager, those immediately applicable skills can get you a long way. In fact, those tend to be what employers and recruiters look for first.
But there are other important “soft skills” that marketing and advertising recruiters tend to value among job candidates. These can can into play at multiple points during your job search. And if you happen to have stiff competition for a highly desirable position, rest assured that they’ll be among the first considerations when determining a tie-breaker.
The perfect recipe of hard and soft skills varies from business to business and job to job. But there are a few near-universal talents we keep a particular eye out for:
Marketing is constantly changing, and marketers must be able to evolve and adapt along with it. It’s all too easy to get complacent in a comfy marketing gig for a few years, only to one day realize you’re hopelessly out of touch.
The best long-term marketers are those that are what we call “life-long learners;” people who are constantly adding new personal and professional knowledge and skills.
Don’t take this advice to mean that you’re expected to know everything about every facet of marketing; that’s simply impossible. The list of moving parts that make up today’s marketing is already too long, and growing every day. Can you imagine learning all there is to know about online advertising, PR, user experience, analytics, branding, and web design? Of course not–and that’s only the tip of the iceberg!
Instead, it’s better to have a general understanding of major trends, a big-picture view of emerging technology and tactics, and know how everything fits together as part of a large, constantly changing and interdependent puzzle.
Need help becoming a lifelong learner of marketing? Start here:
- 18 Exceptional Blogs That Will Keep You Up to Speed on Digital Marketing
- 5 Free Apps Marketers Can Use to Learn New Digital Skills and Stay on Top of Trends
- 5 Podcasts to Keep Yourself on The Cutting Edge of Digital Marketing
- 11 Resources Any Digital Marketer Can Use to Stay on Top of SEO Strategy
- 9 Eye-Catching Certifications that Boost Your Marketing Resume
No, you don’t have to have the poetic power of Shakespeare or the clever quippiness of Mark Twain (unless of course, you’re a copywriter or vying for a similar creative staffing role).
But it is important to be able to communicate in a clear, professional manner, logically build a case, present your work, and effectively communicate with your peers and partners. Perfection isn’t always required, but being efficient with your words and avoiding egregious spelling and grammar mistakes is a must.
Want to show off your writing skills to creative/digital/marketing/advertising recruiters and hiring managers? Start by making sure your resume is sharp and error-free. Polish your social media profiles–especially on LinkedIn. Write a blog, or publish article on LinkedIn or elsewhere. When you have email correspondence, reread before you send to check for mistakes and ensure they’re properly professional.
Authority, confidence, business savvy…it’s difficult to precisely define the traits that constitute this presence, and it manifests in different ways from person to person. But if you’ve ever had the good fortune to work with this kind of tenacious, inspiring, and problem-solving professional, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
We obviously seek this soft skill when we’re conducting a marketing executive search for our clients. But you don’t have to be vying for a senior marketing leader for this kind of poise to pay off; it’ll impress hiring managers for nearly any role (especially management positions).
The best time to display your executive presence is during the interview. In general, a lot of confidence and articulateness is essential to give off an aura of the self-assuredness and business acumen. That comes both from innate leadership talent, experience, and lots of interview preparation. Additionally, good posture, body language, eye contact, and general speaking and conversational skills all go a long way to reflecting your professional comfort level and gravitas.
A good marketer will produce results that meet their goals. A great one will meet their goals, then closely scrutinize their processes for opportunities to improve and optimize.
Top marketing recruiters look for people who are willing to experiment, take smart risks, and have the aptitude to test new ideas. Anyone can follow best practices and play it safe, but that’s a good way to get left in the dust of more ambitious, more innovative competition.
Want to show your constant drive for better results? First, develop the hard analytics and testing skills needed to evaluate your progress and improvements. Second, document your track in your resume. Finally, don’t make it just a professional ambition; develop a pattern and reputation of continuously improving yourself as a human being.